Secretary of State Anthony Blinken reportedly tossed a few barbs at his Chinese counterpart as representatives of the two nations met for the first time under President Joe Biden.
Blinken, as the Associated Press reported Thursday, made the case that the Biden administration is joining allies in resisting “China’s increasing authoritarianism and assertiveness at home and abroad.”
Chinese officials took his comments during a summit in Anchorage as a direct affront and launched into a tirade about America failing to live up to its own rhetoric on democracy and human rights.
On one hand, Biden has to be tough on China, or at least appear tough, to push back on pre-election reports that illustrated his family’s coziness in commerce with top Chinese communists. That’s especially so of his son, Hunter.
But if Biden fails to stand firm against Beijing, it will be seen as rejecting the views of Americans who are increasingly alarmed about China’s influence.
A Gallup poll released on Tuesday found that 45 percent of Americans believe China is the “greatest enemy” of the United States. That was double the ratio from a year ago.
Meanwhile, as the anti-Trump media wants to continue to portray Russia as the greatest threat to the U.S., Americans aren’t buying it. Gallup reported that 26 percent of Americans see Moscow as their fiercest enemy. That’s up just three percentage points from a year ago.
Gallup pointed out that 2014 was the last time China was seen as the top U.S. foe. But even then, that was the view of only 20 percent of Americans.
Gallup also found that Americans’ favorable view of China fell to a record low. Just 20 percent see China in a positive light.
Gallup did not explain what drove this shift – for example, whether it was related to the pandemic that ignited in Wuhan.
But that’s not the only way Americans see China as a threat.
Gallup noted that half of those surveyed said China is the world’s leading economic power, while 37 percent identified the U.S.
That’s a direct flip from a year ago when 50 percent said America was on top, while 39 percent believed China was the economic driver.
Gallup noted that Americans’ pre-pandemic view of their nation’s global economic standing, when former President Donald Trump’s policies had the national economy roaring, was the highest rate in two decades.
In addition, a record 63 percent of those polled said China’s economic vitality is a “critical threat” to the U.S. Eighty-one percent of Republicans agreed with that statement, as did 56 percent of Democrats.
Gallup indicated China’s score in that regard climbed from 46 percent in 2019, the last time the question was asked and was more than 10 points above the previous highs from 2013 and 2014.
In sum, Gallup noted, “Perceptions of China as the greatest enemy of the U.S. are at a high point in Gallup’s trend at the same time its favorable rating is at a low point. The specific concern some Americans have over China, namely its economic power, is identified as a threat to the vital interests of the U.S. by most Americans. In addition, half of Americans view China as the leading economic power in the world today.”
“These developments,” the pollster added, “make U.S. foreign policy toward China especially important, as the tension between the two nations has only grown over the past decade during both the Barack Obama and Donald Trump administrations.”
Biden would have support for a get-tough attitude with China. But the question is whether loyalty to his family will undercut that.